_MG_2894Vertex is more than just another climbing gym we develop athletes.  Vertex Athletics is an education-based strength and conditioning training program. Our members are taught how to maximize their athletic potential through training, nutrition, and recovery. By providing both functional strength and climbing specific training modalities our members are given the tools to reach their peak.

The Facility

We believe in purposeful exercise and our facility is a reflection of this. Our training area and programs are designed in tandem to complement each other. Ensuring that our members always get an efficient and effective workout. This human performance lab is a highly controlled environment where we can safely improve movement and stability deficiencies resulting in a more resilient and better performing machine. In sport and life, moving better will increase performance and keep you in the game longer.

The Trainers


Amber Keneally

My long love affair with Vertex began in 2006 after being introduced to climbing by friends. I was an immediate fan. In 2009, I hired Gorden Cooley himself for private training sessions and became inspired to get my own training certification. Shortly thereafter I began leading Progressive Training and eventually added Power Hour and private and semi-private training sessions to my schedule.

In January of 2017 I was happy to take on the position of Director of Athletics for the gym. That same month I was voted Best Personal Trainer in Sonoma County by readers of the North Bay Bohemian and I have since been awarded the title for the second year running. What a compliment!

I have been drawn to fitness since I was a young girl, and I am so pleased to have found this community of like-minded healthy folks. My approach to strength and conditioning is predicated on my belief that we have to enjoy the physical activities in which we engage in order to stick with it. Attendees of my classes will testify that for me that means lots and lots of burpees.

See you in the gym!



Allie Tarkenton

Born and raised in Santa Rosa, my first experiences with climbing (mostly falling on top rope) were in the areas surrounding Sonoma County and at Vertex Climbing Center. My love for the adventure and sport of climbing grew as my extremely goal-oriented and competitive husband (calling you out Brian Tarkenton!) continued to wrangle me into ever more fear-inducing outdoor challenges. When I moved to Sacramento, the incentive to climb more was spurred on by the peer pressure of my close community of friends and the proximity to classic climbing in Yosemite and Tahoe.

In 2016, as retaliation for all of the suffer-fests that were crafted by my husband, I managed to convince him to join me in completing the 2,650 mile trek from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. Somewhere in the woods of Washington, we made the decision to move back to Santa Rosa, which inevitably meant a return to Vertex.

Having completed my personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), I am now sharing my love for suffering and strength training with my fellow Vertexians.

Sara Willis

I started my strength training journey with a mission – train for the 2017 Northern California INBA Bikini Bodybuilding Competition. Vertex’s very own Gorden Cooley coached me for this event and I eventually took 2nd place in my division! Inspired by the transformation I both witnessed and incited, I decided to take fitness to a new level and get my National Association of Sports Medicine certification. In the summer of 2017, I completed the program and joined the ranks of Vertex personal trainers..

For me, building strength and functional movement are two of the most important aspects of training.  They can help heal injuries and deepen the connection to your physical self. My hope is to share that with others seeking to become stronger and healthier and improve their general wellness. With a background in massage therapy and private cheffing, I believe I bring a well-rounded and nourishing approach to fitness.

Climbing has changed my life, bringing me closer to nature and my inner athlete. I am so grateful for my Vertex family.

Vertex Athletics offers: